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The July 30, 2010, issue of 'AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition'The July 30, 2010, issue of 'AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition'

AOPA ePilot Flight Training Edition Volume 10, Issue 31 — July 30, 2010  

In This Issue:
System helps students learn communications
Buy an airplane, get a pilot certificate
Thunderstorm awareness





Field elevation

It’s one of the first facts you learn about an airport when you locate its symbol on a sectional chart or look it up in a directory—but do you fully take an airport’s elevation above sea level into account during flight planning?


There are multiple reasons to do so. That’s why many airports include airport elevation information on the big airport sign you see when you taxi in or drive up to the gate. For example, correctly setting your altimeter to the current barometric pressure isn’t complete until you verify that the instrument indicates the field elevation. What if there is a discrepancy?  “Note the variation between the known field elevation and the altimeter indication. If this variation is in the order of plus or minus 75 feet, the accuracy of the altimeter is questionable and the problem should be referred to an appropriately rated repair station for evaluation and possible correction,” says Chapter 7 of the Aeronautical Information Manual .

Knowing the field elevation is critical to knowing your actual height above terrain in the airport traffic pattern. It’s also essential information for flying the recommended 1,000 feet above ground level when a traffic pattern altitude (TPA) is not specified (see the Dec. 28, 2007, “ Training Tip: Know the TPA.” )


A 3,300-foot runway length may accommodate just about any approach or departure for your trainer at sea level. But that same runway length becomes a much closer call at a high elevation, especially when high-density-altitude conditions—that is, conditions causing longer-than-normal takeoff runs and a reduced rate of climb for non-turbocharged aircraft—prevail. A high field elevation usually means that the airport sits in mountainous terrain. If so, you could encounter a variety of other conditions rarely seen in the lowlands, as AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman wrote about Colorado’s 5,916-foot-high Glenwood Springs airport in the April 2009 AOPA Pilot feature “ Mountain flying adventure.” “The runway is 3,300 feet long with trees at each end. A narrow and twisting canyon guards it, and like so many Colorado mountain airports, weather and winds sometimes demand one-way runway operations.”


Those are a few tips about why field elevation is as valuable a bit of information as it is easy to acquire. Don’t underestimate its importance when you plan that next cross-country!


If you’re like most student pilots, insurance is probably the last thing on your mind as you head to the airport. You just want to fly! But it’s important to know that in the vast majority of cases, the flight school’s insurance plan covers only their interests. That means a bent or broken airplane could come back as a large bill to you. Protect yourself with the AOPA Insurance Agency’s renter’s insurance. Rates start at just $81 for liability insurance. Coverage for damage to the aircraft is also available.


Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from AOPA Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot's edge. Login information is available online.


Individual California CFIs are not subject to costly reg

As the Aug. 1 implementation deadline for California’s Private Postsecondary Act of 2009 looms, AOPA has been working with state legislators to delay the effective date and revise the law. The law was originally meant to protect students at postsecondary schools and provide more business accountability for those schools, but it has unnecessarily created confusion and difficulties for those engaged in providing flight training, including apparent requirements for flight schools to pay multiple new administrative fees and open their books to regulators. The association has been reviewing the current law and seeking clarification on who is actually affected by the new requirements. Read more >>

New system helps students learn communications

Ask new student pilots their biggest fear, and it usually isn’t landings, steep turns, or stalls. It’s talking on the radio. To help students master radio techniques, Redbird Flight Simulators has introduced the Parrot project, an artificial-intelligence-driven radio communications training system. Read more >>

Kansas State receives grant, expands UAS program

A U.S. Air Force grant will allow Kansas State University to develop mission planning, operations, and a disaster training center for the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) program at its Salina, Kan., campus. The $2.76 million grant, which runs through May 2013, brings the university’s total awards for UAS activity to $3.14 million. Read more >>

Kings winner to get Alaskan pilot experience

John and Martha King of King Schools are breaking from their tradition of giving away an airplane for their customer sweepstakes. The couple is shaking things up for their company’s thirty-fifth anniversary, offering instead of an airplane, a $15,000 prize that includes an Alaskan flying vacation for two where the winner will earn his or her seaplane rating and also take a bush flying course. Read more >>

Liberty would like to buy you a pilot certificate

Liberty Aerospace is trying to sweeten the pot with a new promotion whereby buyers of a new Liberty XL2 will receive a free pilot certificate for themselves and a friend. Liberty says the idea is to make learning to fly easier for the customer, so they will work with a school of your choice, pay for dual instruction, give you a $3,000 fuel card, and cover the scheduled maintenance for the first year. The company says its XL2 two-seat aircraft is perfect for training. It features the Aspen Avioincs Evolution primary flight display, a single-lever engine management system known as FADEC, and an autopilot. To take advantage of the deal, potential customers just need to buy directly from the factory.

Air Safety Foundation offers pre-solo written test guide

Students and flight instructors may think the pre-solo written test is just a regulatory requirement and a nuisance. But, a well-designed test—such as discussed in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s “Instructor’s Guide to the Pre-solo Written Test”—serves as a great study guide in addition to preparing for the first solo flight. If you’re a pre-solo student pilot, you can benefit greatly if your instructor knows how to create and administer the test. As a flight instructor, you’ll be well-prepared to send off your students on their most memorable flight, ever. Share the guide >>

School briefs

•  Guilford Technical Community College, which has degree programs in professional piloting and maintenance, is expanding. The school is building a new 30,000-square-foot facility on the Piedmont Triad International Airport that will open in 2013.

•  Lake Superior College in Duluth, Minn., received a $200,000 grant from the department of education recently. According to school officials, the grant will go toward upgrading facilities, including aircraft simulators.

•  Purdue University will soon take delivery of the remainder of its new fleet of Cirrus SR20 aircraft for training. The school also is purchasing a Phenom 100 very light jet, which a school representative said means that Purdue is the only aviation university in the country where every student will get jet time.

• The University of North Texas will begin offering a degree in aviation logistics this fall.

Inside AOPA

Thunderstorm awareness

It’s simple: Airplanes and thunderstorms don’t mix. These convective beasts can produce airframe-shattering turbulence, damaging hail, sudden and dramatic wind shear, blinding downpours, and strong, gusty winds. The good news: It’s not difficult to avoid these violent storms—if you know how to use the tools at your disposal. Enter the AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s “ Thunderstorm Awareness Safety Spotlight,” which gathers in one place essential courses, quizzes, and publications associated with this topic so you don’t have to hunt for it.

Hertz offers special savings to AOPA Members

As an AOPA member, renting your next vehicle from Hertz not only gives you up to 25 percent off and free enrollment in the #1 Club Gold Program, but you’ll also receive special bonus savings. Save up to $35 off a weekly or weekend rental when PC#142564 is included in your reservation of an economy or higher class car. Just book your vehicle before Aug. 15. The offer is valid for pickup through Sept. 30. Reserve your car today. Plus, a portion of all revenue generated will be returned to AOPA and reinvested to support our daily efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation.

AOPA helps member with lapsed medical

When Lance Anderson of Waterville, Maine, developed some fears over whether he could pass his FAA medical, he let his medical lapse. He came up with a solution, at least a temporary one. He started flying light sport airplanes, specifically an X-Air, an 85-horsepower aircraft he describes as “a good little airplane.” Motivated by his desire to be able to fly to visit his grandson, and later take him flying, he gathered up his courage and called AOPA about his medical and spoke to AOPA’s Jacquie Brown. He says he’s a firm believer in AOPA and the services the association provides. In short he says, “I know Jacquie was just doing her job, but I think of her now as a friend.” To learn more on how the AOPA Medical Services Program can keep you keep you healthy and flying, visit online or call 800/872-2672. Read more >>


Beyerdynamic HS400

Beyerdynamic introduced a new headset this week at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. The HS400 is a passive noise attenuating headset with a separate audio control box that includes a jack for auxiliary audio or a cell phone. The headset, which can be fully customized, starts at $429.


Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors. 


Question: What is a MOA, and can I fly through it?


Answer: MOA stands for “military operations area” and consists of airspace with specific vertical and lateral limits established for the purpose of separating military training activities from IFR traffic. Such activities as formation training, air combat tactics, and low-altitude high speed operations are common. When a MOA is active, IFR traffic may be cleared through as long as ATC can maintain IFR separation. Otherwise IFR traffic will be rerouted around the MOA. No permission is needed to fly VFR through a MOA; however, VFR traffic should proceed with extreme caution. It is a good idea to check the status of a MOA with flight service and also contact the controlling agency for traffic advisories before penetrating the airspace. For more information, check out AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s online interactive course, Mission Possible: Navigating Today’s Special Use Airspace .


Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail [email protected] or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don’t forget the online archive of “Final Exam” questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.

what’s new online

Headset options abound

This week at EAA AirVenture, many different headset manufacturers introduced new models. But Chip Wright, contributor to the Flight Training blog has another solution. Learn about his headset set up >>

aopa career opportunities

Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We're looking for a corporate pilot. To learn more about this and other career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.

Picture Perfect

Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our online gallery, “Air Mail.” Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 5,500 photos (and growing). Photos are put into rotation on the AOPA home page!



Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We’ve enhanced our calendar so that with one click you can see all of the events listed in the regions you selected when personalizing ePilot . Now you can browse events in your region to make planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calendar page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.

To include an event or to search all events in the calendar, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, including FBO fuel prices, see AOPA Airports.

Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics

The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Atlanta, Ga., and Fort Worth, Texas, Aug. 7 and 8; Champaign, Ill., Aug. 14 and 15; Costa Mesa, Calif., and Reno, Nev., Aug. 21 and 22; Allentown, Pa., Aug. 28 and 29. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.


Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars

AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Germantown, Tenn., Aug. 30; Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 31; and Maryville, Tenn., Sept. 1. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.

Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].

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Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Ian Twombly | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton Marsh
Production Team: Lezlie Ramsey, William Rockenbaugh, Mitch Mitchell

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